There’s a lot of storage for my favourite travel toys, the layout lets me leave the bedroom in disarray if I want to make an early start without later blighting my morning coffee view, and it’s light, bright and airy despite the central dividing bathroom, thanks to clever mirror placing, a skylight and the open headroom where many homes have a Luton.
Shane Smale says Walkabout Motorhome Sales is the only Ci motorhome importer in New Zealand. The Italian brand has been in the business for 35 years and Shane says its strength is that it builds homes to cover extremes of both heat and cold.
He brings in two types of bed layout — two single beds or a fixed central walk-around model — and aims to deliver as standard everything customers look for in their home, rather than something basic with a long list of cost-added options.
“We’ve been in the industry for 16 years, and we don’t claim to know everything, but we have learned what people want,” he says.
Which is why the front swivel leather captain seats are standard, as is an LED 18.5-inch swivel-away colour TV/DVD (fitted to either bedroom or living room, with the second screen optional), as well as a 120-watt solar panel, a reverse camera, a four-metre awning, eco leather upholstery, 16-inch alloy wheels fitted with Michelin tyres, and plenty more.
The LED TV and lighting use minimal power, so the 100-amp battery lets you freedom park for up to 10 days, and Shane says all the 5000 homes Ci builds each year are “designed to breathe, so the system avoids condensation inside.”
The base Fiat comes standard with a factory stereo, hill-hold, rain and headlight sensors, and stability control – don’t knock it until you’ve done a trip on winter-gritted roads, or via back-country corners slick with spilled diesel atop light summer rain.
The stereo comes standard with a touch screen, also controlled via some of the steering-wheel buttons, while the rear-view mirror incorporates a large reverse monitor for assurance when you’re backing up.
But enough of the talking. My external walk-around revealed flush-fitted windows, an optional tow bar, and a full-width garage which opens either side, has a height that’s adjustable according to the height of the bed above, and is plenty big enough to fit surf boards, fishing rods and bicycles. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could lock a motor-scooter up in there, affixed to the inbuilt tie-down loops.
There is a Fiamma awning with the option to add an outside privacy room – also a wind down mechanism in the garage to adjust the central bed height
Back inside, the ash-blond wood is standard to all these vehicles, further enhancing the warm, bright feeling. It’s further lightened by the contrast with all the cream eco leather, a combination that looks good with almost any colour of cushion or accessory you choose.
The dining area doubles as a second double bed, using an extra panel stored in the garage and a telescoping table leg. The front captain seats swivel to face it, and above them there’s a large sunroof bringing in blue-sky views, framed by useful shelves.
Next, the kitchen with its three-way fridge, gas oven, grill and three-ring gas hob highlighted by hidden lighting in the splashback, a sink (a sink cover for more bench space is optional) and the optional flip-up table. Hang your drying-up towel on the oven door handle or the bathroom sink, which is within easy reach.
And this is where I found it interesting, for that open door amidships hides a full shower on one side — with a cover for the tray to convert it to a dry floor — and the loo on the other, both with doors or curtains. You can close the bathroom area off from the front dining-kitchen-living area, and from the rear bedroom, or leave it as a mid-home chicane.
The designer-look central sink with its big mirror shields the view of the bed and reflects back the airy living room to give an illusion of space. Walk round it, and there’s the island bed, with steps up – the top one doubling as a slippers cubby. Both sides have their own cupboard with shirt hanging rail and ceiling cupboards, and there’s a small under-bed storage area.
His and hers cupboards each side of the sink take bathroom items, and of course there’s a vent over both the loo and shower.
Roman blinds deliver daytime privacy — if you need it, given the windows are mounted well above pedestrian head level — with solid pull-down blinds for night time, and pull-up insect screens that attach to them, so you can get a breeze inside without inviting the mozzies in. In winter, you’ll enjoy the fact that ducts carry the heat throughout this home, even into the garage.
Kitchen storage is well thought out, with slide-out baskets to ease access to every nook and cranny, and with the fridge behind you as you cook, you can reach everything without taking a step.
And finally, there’s remote central locking for the side door, a new-design gas locker for two 9kg bottles with one fitted as standard, and all these vehicles have four three-point seat belts and a fifth seat has a lap belt for emergency extras or to fasten your pet’s harness. Walkabout Sales is the only recognised Duraseal dealer for motorhomes, so all the vehicles get the Duraseal paint protection, which avoids oxidization, making your home’s outer skin easier to clean and ensuring it never needs a polish again.
My only reservation might be that without the optional sink cover, kitchen bench space is a little limited. But that’s a small price to pay for such a well-thought-out and airy home from home.
Make – Model Ci Magis 66P
Base Vehicle Fiat Ducato
Engine 2.3-litre diesel
Gearbox Six-speed manual and auto
External Length/Height/Width 7430 x 3150 x 2310
External Storage cubic space 1170x820x full width of home at 7430mm
Wheels and Tyres – Sizes 16-inch alloy
Fresh Water Tank – litre and weight when full 100-litre
Grey Water Tank – litre and weight when full 115-litre
Batteries 100-amp battery with 15-amp smarcharge
Luton Height No Luton
Fridge 149-litre three-way
Gas oven and hob
Entertainment Fiat factory Bluetooth CD/Radio/USB plus, LED 18-inch colour TV Hot Water System 6kW Combi Truma gas water and heating
Toilet / Shower Yes
Suitable Tow Vehicle Yes, towbar optional
License Required Standard car licence